IUMA: J.P. David
From a base at Miranda, California we covered the Eureka and Arcata area to play here and there at bars and college pubs while we continued to work on the music at home in a large ranch-house where we lived for two years, working off the rent by doing occasional chores for the rancher. Upon a return to Minneapolis in 1970, due to personal hassles in the band I once again began to play solo blues gigs around town while I also filled in as vocalist and rhythm guitar for a country band, and otherwise free-lancing with a trio playing in bars near the university, till upon one unfortunate reunion with the old band our bassman, who was trying his hand at lead guitar, struck a high note that put a hole in my eardrum.
I put down my guitar and didn't pick it up again for nearly ten years until that eardrum was finally healed. Throughout the 70's and 80's I pursued a writing career, living for a time in Hollywood. When we'd had our fill of city life we headed for the mountains where during the next ten years, my wife and I traveled the gold country making a living on the road with nothing much more than a Jeep Wagoneer, a gold pan, an acoustic guitar, and a will to remain free of the constraints of modern urban life.
Ten years of that came to an end in a fight over a gold claim that left me with a six inch scar in my scalp and a whole new approach toward playing the guitar which I had worked to perfect over that ten years in the mountains, five of which had been spent on Bear River in a little one-room cabin.
The whole idea was to be able to play solo in such a way that presented the effect of more than one guitar. This was not the finger-picking approach made so effective by such lights as Leo Kotke and well . . . Chet Atkins. It is a flat-picking, rock 'n' roll style which employs much switching between bass runs, rhythm and lead patterns, all the while keeping a beat by making percussive strokes over dampened strings. My thus-far unattained ideal in this approach is the art and magic of Django Rheinhardt who can make one guitar sound like an entire Big Band.
After making our move from California to the Mid-South in 1990, by picking and singing our way along for gas money, we finally hit the town that looked like home to us and settled down. I worked full-time at various jobs in factories and as a motel desk clerk, until I had finally saved enough to invest in a Guild S-100 and a Fender "Stage Lead" amplifier plus the Peavey "Classic" which serves for a P.A. or a second guitar amp, when needed. And since my Sweet Thing bought me a Martin D-15 for my birthday three years ago, I have no need for any more birthdays, as I have come to regard that date of July 20th like it was just any other day that comes and goes for no reason that I can reckon has anything at all to do with me, anymore or so far's I know--so long as nobody shocks me out of my blissful ignorance with one of those aggravating birthday cards.
From time to time, when the spirit moves me, I head out and do a gig down at a nearby college town, or do some bluegrass jamming come summer when the festivals around here are in full swing throughout the five-state area in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Kansas.
Turning the methods dervived by acoustic guitar over those ten years in the mountain cabin to electric instruments has been a further journey of discovery, affording much more latitude to create that illusory effect I've been after in the way of making one guitar sound like a whole symphony orchestra--yeah right. But, truly, the idea is always to try for a fuller, more rhythmic sound.
All the performances on these MP3's, unless otherwise indicated, are one-take, two-track (stereo) recordings with no over-dubbing or added tracks. The vocal and guitar are done simultaneously. The only editing, if and when that is done, is to the purpose of shortening a performance to a reasonable length for one song, or maybe on rare occasion, tacking on an ending I like better; otherwise no cutting is done unless something unexpected happened like if the dog suddenly barfed a pile of Christmas tinsel, or a picture fell off the wall, or somebody was shooting at me, or maybe I coughed, then fine, I'll run it through the old Goldwave for an edit.
Most performances are presented exactly as they happened in order to preserve the energy of a live gig, so if there's a downside to such an approach, then let the listener beware! There could come an occasional few moments of jam meandering or even, now and again, an outright mistaken stroke when I got my finger caught under a string, or like when the parrot flew down and perched on the neck of that Guild right in the middle of an otherwise perfectly good session: my philosophy is "These things happen." But, we never fear as we proceed on the hunch that this is the real thing, what we're getting after, while still, I don't suppose you'll hear anything worse on these MP3's along an order of disaster than you'd be apt to get from a live in-concert recording of the Grateful Dead, the Mothers of Invention, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, Commander Cody or Dylan.
My view is this: by over much editing and dubbing, it's just too easy to ruin the magic, if and when that can happen--not that I claim it ever does. But, we keep looking on the bright side. And since a demand for purity and flawless perfection, in reality, never actually comes across anyway, then why get into a wrestling match with reality by doing take after take until all the fun and spirit is drained out of it? Fun is the name of the game or forget it, that's my conviction, that is my aim and so for that reason, I just like to give the listener a little credit in the way of patience, forbearance and . . . well, a pleasant recognition of the human condition?
That'll work. ;-)
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